Washington: US mainline media gave prominent coverage to the Pune terror bombing focusing on a possible connection with Pakistani American terror suspect David Headley and how it could affect proposed India-Pakistan talks.
In a report from Pune titled “India Pursues Terror Link After Bomb Blast”, the New York Times said, “Indian authorities were trying to determine Sunday whether the attack was linked to any known terrorist groups and to a man charged in the deadly 2008 assault on Mumbai.”
“The attack occurred at a politically delicate moment as Pakistan and India have agreed to restart high-level talks that had been broken off after the 2008 attack on Mumbai” when Pakistani-trained militants killed at least 163 people, the Times said.
It wondered, “whether the Pune blast might complicate moving forward with the talks, tentatively scheduled for later this month.”
Christian Science Monitor made a similar point. “Saturday’s bombing of the German Bakery in Pune will test the resolve of Indian leaders to restart talks with Pakistan later this month,” it said wondering, “does American David Headley have a connection to the Pune bombing, ask investigators.”
“The Pune bakery bombing occurred just two days after India and Pakistan, which suspended talks after 26/11, announced that their foreign secretaries would meet in India for a fresh round of negotiations on Feb 25,” it said noting, “For decades, Indo-Pak relations have remained hostage to the threat of terrorism.”
The Washington Post also noted “India is investigating whether Pakistan was behind an attack that killed nine people in the western city of Pune ahead of peace talks scheduled for next week.”
The United States has encouraged India to invite Pakistan to the negotiating table to hash out long-simmering issues, including Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks and the disputed region of Kashmir, it said.
“The Obama administration has urged Pakistan to focus its military strength on Afghanistan and on the spillover of Taliban militants in its northwest frontier, instead of on India,” the Post said.
The Post also noted that the German Bakery was near the Osho Ashram, “a spiritual centre with many Western followers, was one of the locations canvassed as a potential target by David Coleman Headley, who is now on trial in Chicago on charges of plotting terrorist acts.
Noting Saturday’s blast comes a day after Indian and Pakistani officials agreed to meet in New Delhi later this month in a bid to resume their dialogue frozen by the 2008 Mumbai attacks, CNN noted, “India suspended its fragile peace process with arch-rival Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”